Our Readers’ Top Five Cookbooks of 2011

published Dec 13, 2011
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We asked our readers about their favorite new cookbooks of 2011, and while a delightful variety emerged, there were a few clear frontrunners. We weighed these with our own favorites, as well as the ones that seemed to receive the most chatter from our friends and fellow bloggers. What were the results? Which books earned our must-buy award for 2011?

Fresh, colorful, inspiring vegetarian cooking carried the day, with not one but two books that offered a vibrant medley of vegetable-focused meals. Both of them also carried a strong sense of place and culture: One that of the fog-shrouded Bay Area, nestled near green fields and fruit orchards; the other, the colorful, polyglot melting pot of modern London. There was an ice cream book from the heart of America’s farmland, and a collection of sophisticated yet simple recipes from a Brooklyn kitchen. Read on to see each of these books, and to hear a little of what our readers said about them.

5 Top Cookbook Picks of 2011

These picks were chosen from our readers’ comments on the blog, as well as on Twitter and Facebook, weighted ever so slightly by our own favorites from the past year.

  • Super Natural Every Day: Well-loved Recipes from My Natural Foods Kitchen, by Heidi Swanson (Ten Speed Press) – Heidi’s book was a clear, strong standout from our readers’ responses. Reader vtbear says it, “is hands down my favorite cookbook ever.” (See our review and a recipe here.)
  • Plenty: Vibrant Recipes from London’s Ottolenghi, by Yotam Ottolenghi (Chronicle Books) – Plenty also received a lot of love from our editorial staff and our readers. Jane of Eat Your Books said that the book “wows me with its inventiveness.” (See our review and a recipe here.)
  • Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home, by Jeni Britton Bauer (Artisan) – I have a special place in my heart for Jeni, who is right here in my hometown. The readers are less biased but no less enthusiastic; reader kristab says “Jeni’s book is just incredible. Best ice cream I ever made.” (See our review and a recipe here.)
  • Home Made, by Yvette van Boven (Stewart, Tabori & Chang) – This was one book we didn’t review this year and I regret that, given how many times I have thumbed through the pages of this gorgeous guide to DIY cooking. Our readers made up for our lack with glowing praise: marisa_dobson says, “Every single thing I’ve made from it has been delish!”
  • Cook This Now: 120 Easy and Delectable Dishes You Can’t Wait to Make, by Melissa Clark (Hyperion) – We are such fans of Melissa here at The Kitchn, and we were happy to see her book receive a lot of glowing praise from the readers as well. She makes recipes we just want to cook, as her title promises, and the readers agreed: “I marked probably about half the recipes as ones that looked good,” says vintagejenta. (See our review and a recipe here.)

8 Cookbook Honorable Mentions

Here are eight more cookbooks that received enthusiasm and mentions from our readers.

Also, I will take a moment to mention that Sara Kate and I both released books this year: Good Food To Share and Not Your Mother’s Casseroles. (It’s just the beginning of a rich run of cookbooks from the crew here at The Kitchn; there are several more in the works!)

• All books mentioned can be found on Amazon, in your local independent bookstore, or at your local library. Many are available for e-reader devices as well.

Got another favorite cookbook of 2011 to share? Tell us in a comment below!

(Images: Publishers via Amazon)